The gamer’s agony, or why we’re still enduring incompatible teammates online .
The online video game and electronic sports industry is an ectoplasmic, blooming ecosystem that is just taking its first steps and is set for an outstanding future. When engaging a discussion with people that aren’t familiar with it, they often interject: “Oh yes I’ve recently seen a news story about this. Crazy how this is growing right?”
Crazy indeed. As an example, the prize pool for Dota’s International World Championship reached a preposterous $21 million this year, with each player from the victorious team pocketing at least $1.8m. Recently, France has decided to give a legal status to professional players. In Korea, e-sport is almost a religion, with popular players being considered just like our professional football players here.
All in all, over 100 million players battle for victory in fictional universes online every day. Yet some of their very basic and widespread frustrations have not found any appropriate answers in the tools currently available.
Playing with the right people
As a veteran gamer, who has played pretty much every popular online game since I could get my hands on a computer and a decent enough internet connection, I have always been nagged by the following question: since in the course of online games we don’t really have time to bind, how are we supposed to find the right people to play with?
Sure, some have attempted creating boards, team websites and whatnot, but the hassle of searching for the right team then describing yourself in length is a roadblock for many when looking to expand their player base.
And what about those that are just looking for people to play with although they aren’t serious enough to commit to a schedule? Those who are tired of randomly assigned teammates, and dream of a tool that hooks them up to enough people with similar expectations to play with, anytime?
Just like entrepreneurship, in online games the question is more often ‘Who’ than ‘What’ to make it work and enjoy the ride. The frustration of spending countless hours surrounded by people that make you feel lonely is quite an experience — and correcting this is often just a question of enabling communication and breaking the ice. The very person you got upset with for not helping you in a game could actually be a great teammate if you had joined the same game with a previous discussion and set of agreements.
You’re changing games? Farewell, then.
Another unsolved issue is keeping track of players throughout long period of times, including when parting ways on games. We’ve heard countless tales of people looking for their long lost gaming mates, that just never showed up again on the platform where they played, and they had no other way to reach them. There are dozens of people you’re not close enough to justify adding them on a mainstream social network, yet can have a blast with every evening scrimming together — these are the people that you shouldn’t lose sight of.
Unfortunately, it is not in the interest of game publishers to find a way for us to keep in touch through decades of gaming. A transparent, independent player needs to fill this spot, relieving the community of biased features & advertising methods.
Yet we’re technophiles, and therefore would be the most likely early adopters of an efficient tool that would alleviate our frustrations. We’re not looking for a Facebook for gamers, nor are we looking for the most efficient way to earn prizes online. Gamers don’t like Facebook, partly because of an ongoing stigma about them that is luckily quickly dying thanks to the growth of e-sports.
We want synergy. We want competition. And most of all, we’re too lazy to search for the right people ourselves.
The gamer passport
Achievements in games are something one is usually very proud of. Reaching the top at any current popular game requires abnegation, willpower, and dedication just like any other domain— you can literally be among the 500 best players out of 10 million people and be completely unnoticed by your real life acquaintances.
Why would this be an incredible achievement in any other activity, but not in online games that are so demanding in terms of skills? In how many domains are tens of millions of players competing to reach the top?
Have you ever seen a gamer’s career on Facebook? It very recently started for popular streamers, but is not a habit most people are in. Because Facebook was not designed for them to shine.
That’s why players need a place to stand out. Somewhere they’ll be respected for their career. Somewhere that will allow fellow gamers who visit their profile to think ‘Woah. He’s a beast’.
And that’s why we created Owls.
Because today, we can leverage enough data to group together players that are complementary both on a personal level as well as on a skill level.
Because today, e-sport is growing so quickly that we have a duty to empower teams that want to reach the top with the right tools, that are centralized.
Because we’re tired of having to keep track of someone on countless platforms to make sure we won’t lose sight.
Because both players and teams need the right place to promote their performance and reach their community.
Because the hiring process for competitive teams can and should be much simpler.
And finally, because all players deserve a tool that is in phase with their time.
No more broken keyboards.
Discord helped players jump to the second decade of the 21st century in communication ; FaceIT enabled this same leap for competition. Owls will take gathering and synergy to the next level.
When you think about it, it’s long overdue that the criteria to be matched with teammates exceeds the simplicity of ‘average team level’. Language, goals, roles, all of these are not well integrated yet in online games. All of these, yet, are defining criteria when it comes to having a blast.
With Owls, we have strong hope that we’ll contribute to the well being of all the online gamers out there, allowing them to focus on enjoying playing rather than spend countless hours searching for teammates— and we’ll save them the cost of broken hardware.